About Farkhondeh Tajik

Because of circumstances beyond her control, it wasn’t until the age of 22 that Farkhondeh Tajik was given the chance to receive a formal education. 

She sure has made up for lost time. 

Today, at age 28, after earning her associate degree from Hudson Valley Community College, Farkhondeh is enrolled at Sage, taking the prerequisites she needs to enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Farkhondeh was born in Iran to Afghan parents.  Fleeing war and violence, her family escaped into Iran. When she was a little girl, she only wanted to go to school. However, only Iranians were allowed to attend. As a refugee, she was not allowed. By the time Farkhondeh and her family moved to Turkey, she was 11. She was told she was too old to start school.

Moving as a young adult with her family to the United States was the chance to finally make up for the missed opportunities she so desperately wanted. 

“I was scared, and worried and excited, all at once,” she remembers. 

She began learning English, and enrolled in a high school equivalency program. She worked seven days a week, whatever it took, and after two years she’d earned her GED. 

“I had to give up a lot,” she says. “I didn’t go to the parties, the birthday gatherings. I needed to do what was required of me.”

Because she was seeing the possibilities. 

“I’d discover that here in this country age doesn’t matter,” she says. “At Hudson Valley there were students of all ages in my classes. I realized I wasn’t too old, and I started thinking positively.”

For many years Farkhondeh had dreamed of working in the medical field. By the time she had her associate degree, she had settled on becoming a nurse. She heard from various people that Sage would be the best place to pursue her Nursing degree.

“And when I toured the campus and talked with the instructors at Sage,” she recalls, “I felt like I’d made a personal connection, which is very important to me.”

Farkhondeh was accepted into The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program, a partnership between Sage and the New York State Education Department. The program is designed to provide educational opportunities to students who, due to limited academic and financial resources, would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend Sage.

Once admitted to HEOP, students are provided with financial assistance, counseling, tutoring, advising and other support services throughout their college career. The goal is to retain and graduate promising students who will succeed at Sage and beyond.

Farkhondeh seems the exact type of student HEOP was designed to help.

She says every step along the way on this long journey she’s been walking, her mindset has been to take one step forward at a time. Learn the language, get the high school degree, the associate degree, the bachelor’s. 

She’ll just keep going, she says. Does that mean a master’s? 

“It means achieving the next goal,” she says.

She doesn’t want to get ahead of herself. Though it seems she’s gotten so much further ahead than most in her position would have.


“When I toured the campus and talked with the instructors at Sage, I felt like I’d made a personal connection, which is very important to me.”

Farkhondeh Tajik